Agricultural Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi told reporters after a Cabinet meeting held the same day that the rate failed to rise due to such factors as the weather and the adverse effects of the earthquake and tsunami of March 2011, adding that the government does not plan to revise the target downward with prejudgment.
As the government and the ruling Liberal Democratic Party are currently working on specific measures in line with their 10-year plan to double farmers’ incomes, Hayashi said they will discuss the self-sufficiency target when they create a new plan, after taking specific measures.
But the drop was offset by a good harvest of wheat and soybeans nationwide and especially in Hokkaido, with domestic production of wheat up 15% from the previous year and soybean production showing a year-on-year increase of 8%. While the yields of wheat and soybeans per unit area rose due to favorable weather, the total area under cultivation did not increase.
Wheat yields per 10 ares was up 16% to 410 kilograms in fiscal 2012, but the area under cultivation remained more or less flat compared with the previous year at 209,200 hectares. Soybean yields per 10 ares increased 13% from a year before to 180 kilograms, but the area under cultivation dropped 4% to 131,100 hectares.
In order to increase production of wheat and soybeans, Hayashi stressed that the government will take measures to stimulate both supply and demand for the crops. The government is considering stepping up such supply-boosting measures as facilitating conversion of rice paddies to other crops and consolidating farmlands to improve efficiency of motivated farmers, and strengthening demand-boosting measures such as developing varieties suitable for processing.
(The Japan Agri News)